Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune doesn’t believe head coach Marc Trestman‘s biggest call was going for it on fourth and one in the fourth quarter:
“Instead, the big call came about 15 minutes earlier after the Bengals shredded the Bears defense to open the second half. Despite trailing 21-10 halfway through third quarter of the Bears’ season opener at home and his career-opener as a head coach, Trestman stuck with the run.
“He and [quarterback Jay] Cutler balanced the pass-run play-calls because that’s what professional teams do. The balance also prevented the sack terrors along the Bengals defensive line from teeing off on Cutler. It seems simple and smart, and there was still a lot of time remaining, but that never meant squat to the likes of the Ironheaded Mikes, Tice and Martz.
“This is big-boy stuff. Matt Forte darted around and through a Bengals team that was sucking wind, then Michael Bush thumped a Bengals team that didn’t feel like playing much tackle football at the end.”
“Trestman decided the Bears could run the ball when it mattered. He decided they would run the ball when it mattered. Big call. The biggest, actually. Testicular fortitude.”
Rosenbloom makes a good point. It is entirely possible that past coordinators would have started throwing the ball around at that point. And doing that does put a great deal of pressure on the offensive line, as they are then blocking defensive linemen who are doing nothing but rushing the passer all out with no fear of being burned on a run.
But I will say this. They were only about one possession away from throwing the ball around as Rosenbloom describes. Which means you could argue that, literally, they were one possession away from losing the game. That’s how close a thing it was.